Memphis: Whit Bazemore Saturday summary

BAZEMORE QUALIFIES 10TH IN MEMPHIS, MISSES SHOWDOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 20, 2005) - Whit Bazemore and the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car team was on a mission in the final round of qualifying today at the O'Reilly Mid-South ...

BAZEMORE QUALIFIES 10TH IN MEMPHIS, MISSES SHOWDOWN

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Aug. 20, 2005) - Whit Bazemore and the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus Funny Car team was on a mission in the final round of qualifying today at the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park: To qualify ninth or better in order to remain in the Skoal Showdown (and bump Robert Hight out), a $100,000 bonus race at the U.S. Nationals on Labor Day, whose points are based on qualifying results.

If Hight remained No. 1 in the field at the end of qualifying and Bazemore, in 10th, didn't improve his position, Hight would make the Showdown and Bazemore would not. Unfortunately for the 11-time Showdown participant, Bazemore did not better his position, Hight held on to No. 1, and Bazemore found himself out of the bonus race for the first time in eight years.

Bazemore's quickest pass of the weekend came Friday night in the cooler conditions, posting a 5.009-second elapsed time at 289.88. His other passes in the extreme Memphis heat produced a 5.252/262.85, a 7.734/103.00 and a tire-smoking 7.095/124.10 in his final attempt to make the Showdown field.

"We had a plan (in that final round) and our plan was that as soon as it had a hint of trouble, (I would) grab the brake. And I did, and I was on time. So I'm happy with that part of it. The bottom line is that the Matco Tools Dodge was just too aggressive for the track."

"The track was not as good as we thought it was, and we just misread the track, that's all."

"Sometimes it's hard to make this car go down the trace track consistently. And it's cost us a lot and it cost us a Skoal Showdown spot and it's very, very frustrating."

"Hight's team has the quickest car and they've had the quickest car all year, so they deserve to be in it."

"We control our destiny and it just didn't happen, so it's very disappointing."

Adding salt to the wound, Bazemore faces his teammate Ron Capps (who also missed an opportunity to make it into the Skoal Showdown) in the first round of eliminations on Sunday.

-js

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Series NHRA
Drivers Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , Robert Hight